Randomised Controlled Trial of Study Without Stress: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Program to Reduce Stress in Students in the Final Year of High School

Abstract

Typically students in their final year of school report high levels of anxiety, depression and stress. This study evaluated Study without Stress, a group cognitive behavioural program to reduce student stress. Fifty-six final year students (77% female) from four Australian secondary schools were randomly allocated to Study without Stress delivered by school staff, or to an 8-week usual care condition. Changes in self-reported stress, anxiety, depression, self-efficacy, and teacher reported emotional problems were assessed pre to post-treatment using intent-to-treat analyses. Maintenance of changes were examined 3-months later. Compared to usual care, Study without Stress led to significant reductions in self-reported stress and distress, and increases in self-efficacy that were maintained over time, with no significant changes in anxiety, depression or teacher reported emotional problems. Study without Stress is beneficial for reducing academic stress and improving self-efficacy in final year students when delivered in a school setting.

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Correspondence to Viviana M. Wuthrich.

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Lowe, C., Wuthrich, V.M. Randomised Controlled Trial of Study Without Stress: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Program to Reduce Stress in Students in the Final Year of High School. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 52, 205–216 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-020-01099-x

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Keywords

  • Academic stress
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy
  • Senior school
  • Exam anxiety
  • Stress, anxiety, depression